5-1 | Play Initiating Behaviors and Responses in Red Colobus Monkeys


Play Initiating Behaviors and Responses in Red Colobus Monkeys

Eric A. Worch


Red colobus monkeys are playful primates, making them an important species in which to study animal play. The author examines play behaviors and responses in the species for its play initiation events, age differences in initiating frequency and initiating behavior, and the types of social play that result from specific initiating behaviors. Out of the eighteen attempts to initiate play observed by the author, four resulted in play fighting, six in social-locomotor play, four in aggressive rebuffs, and four in passive withdrawals. Old infants proved both the primary initiators and targets of play initiation attempts. Fourteen attempts involved contact with the target animal, suggesting that contact is a species-specific strategy used to initiate play. The author found no relationship however, between specific initiating behaviors and the type of social play that ensued. The author discusses the limitations of the study and directions for future research. Key words: Kibale; play fighting; play initiation; Procolobus rufomitratus; red colobus monkeys; rough-and-tumble play; social-locomotor play